Steeler Nation, Jerome “The Bus” Bettis is again a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If you ask me the time has come to enshrine the Bus. Bettis may have been the best big running back ever to play in the NFL and no doubt was the most durable and productive .
He weighed in at about 260 but had the quick feet of a back much lighter. Bettis had a rare combination of size and quickness. He was big and strong enough to steam roll defenders, rarely brought down by one tackler and also quick enough to make people miss when needed . Bettis rarely ever was subjected to a big hit.
The Bus was one of the greatest running backs to ever play the game. No back has displayed more heart , power,determination, and pure will for short yardage situations and the end zone scoring 91 touchdowns rushing and 3 more receiving during his career.
He had 8 seasons of 1000 yards or more ranking 5th all-time in that category.No back was more dependable playing through various injuries and productive through all of his 13 seasons.
No other running back of his era dished out more punishment yet was able to endure the wear and tear of such a running style playing for 13 productive seasons. Bettis made the Pro Bowl 6 times and was named All Pro twice in his career. The fact that he made the Pro Bowl his rookie year and also his 12th year is a testament to his greatness and uncanny staying power.
Bettis was a legendary player and the face of the Pittsburgh Steelers during his career with the team . No player during that time embodied what it is to be a Pittsburgh Steeler more. Bettis was the leader of the Steelers on and off the field .
Jerome Bettis finished his career as the 5th ranked running back in rushing yards of all time with 13662 yards and now ranks 6th all time.
Bettis played with the passion and the fire of a true champion and his teammates fed off of this . No season reflected this more than his last in 2005,needing to win out just to make the playoffs at 7-5 the Steelers beat the Chicago Bears 21-9.
Bettis took over the game in the second half on a snow covered field running for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns .
His touchdown run against Bears All Pro linebacker Brian Urlacher in that game will always in my mind define Bettis and his running style, if you have never seen it check it out. Bettis just flattened Urlacher and a few other defenders to score the touchdown, showcasing the pure power , will ,determination and passion Bettis displayed throughout his career.
The Steelers would win 7 straight to take the Bus home to Detroit and on to win Super Bowl XL. Bettis announced his retirement after winning Super Bowl XL, riding off into the sunset a Super Bowl champion! A story book ending for one of the NFL’s all time greats!
Over the past few weeks many Pro Football Hall of Fame players have stated that Jerome Bettis belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Pro Football Hall of Fame running backs like Curtis Martin and Marcus Allen are among that group.
Curtis Martin: “I would tell them ( Hall of Fame voters) to look at his full body of work, where he is at right now, number six on the all-time rushing list. I don’t know how he is not in the Hall of Fame. I thought the guy would be in the Hall of Fame before I was.”
Marcus Allen: “He does compare, although differently. We are all different, that is the thing. He has more yards than I do. What he did compares to what others did, just each back is different. Hopefully what is different is embraced and not used against him. He is completely different than any of the other backs. John Riggins is a Hall of Famer and he was a bruiser. He was like Jerome, he was a great athlete too who could do a lot of things. Jerome was that physical runner who possessed that athletic skill to be finesse at the same time.
We want the best players in there. Jerome Bettis is one of the best.”
Steeler Nation, Jerome “the Bus” Bettis has a final stop and its way overdue, that stop is Canton, Ohio in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.